We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal Bailar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Crystal, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
I disagree with the idea that you have to hustle to be successful. Too often we are told by successful people that working hard and putting in the long hours is how you make it, how you grow. My disagreement stems from the idea that the most important thing is making money, or achieving certain culturally defined markers of success. Some days I wonder if hustling and working harder, faster, putting in more hours is the only way to make my business grow. This comes from the constant influx of images and messages from the world around me, and I have to make an intentional effort to tune out the excess information. One of the ways I do this, is by going for a walk or un every day, and taking a full day once a week to get out outdoors, no matter how busy, or overwhelmed I feel. This means my business is growing slower than others around me, but I am healthy, full of gratitude, and connected to myself and those around me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve always had a desire to make things. For decades I tried many art forms, and crafting activities, like painting, quilting, photography, soap making, even Ukrainian egg dyeing. I still dabble in all these things (I haven’t bought soap in ages), but I stumbled upon wood burning and absolutely love it. Wood burning is calming, comforting, and satisfying. I get my inspiration from the time I spend outside, exploring, hiking, camping. It wasn’t until I started teaching wood burning workshops that I found my ability to teach. People tell me that I encourage them, and help them do things they never imagined they could do. I don’t believe it’s my skill as an artist or a teacher, but my heart for building up others, for empowering encouraging people to take the risk, have some fun, and let go of the things that hold them back from trying new things. I want people to know that everyone is creative. I believe we were made that way, and until we can create something, we never really meet our true selves. It doesn’t have to be art in the traditional sense, or even writing, or performance. but getting into the pace where the ideas in our minds are expressed through our actions. I am still in the early stages of my business growth. I started wood burning two years ago, and teaching just two years ago. My biggest growth came when I went from full time nurse to part time. Last year I started teaching classes online, and this has opened some amazing doors. I get to teach online workshops for people all over the country now. The more people I meet, the more excited and motivated I get. There are days I am insecure, frustrated, overwhelmed. When this happens, I go outside, exert myself in some way, breath deep, pray, and remind myself of all that is good in my life. Another important lesson I’ve learned is that when I am vulnerable, and tell people what I’m thinking, or how I’m struggling, connections are made, and these personal connections are the most valuable part of my life and growth as a person, an artist and a business owner.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Visiting my area? There are so many amazing things to do! especially if you love the outdoors. In a week long trip, I’d take you hiking at least a few times. We would likely stop at the Sultan Bakery and go to Barklay lake, a short hike to an amazing lake in the shadow of Mt Index, or if you’re up for something a little more difficult, we could hike to Beckler peak with 360 degree views of the Cascades. We would go to Historic Downtown Snohomish (my town) to enjoy a little boutique shopping, coffee at Proper Joe Coffee house, and dinner at Trail’s End Tap House. We could take a drive to Larabee State Park and hike Chuckanut Ridge just before Sunset, and watch the sun set over the San Juan Islands. Or take a ferry to Orcas Island, and see the sights there. Another day, we could pack a lunch and take the Kingston Ferry over to the Olympic Penninsula after picking up coffee and breakfast to go at Walnut Street Coffee in Edmonds. We would hike to Olympic Hot Springs, eat lunch and head to Port Angeles to find a place for dinner. Another day we can take a drive to visit Bellingham, and check out the breweries, definitely visiting Aslan, Wander, and Kulshan Brewing Companies. If you’re up for it, I would take you on another hike to see Mt. Baker and get up close and personal with a glacier along Heliotrope Ridge, or the Mount Baker Railroad Grade Trail, The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to Rescue Freedom International and all the Freedom Hikers who get outdoors to abolish modern day slavery.